Microsoft on WP 7.8 Bugs: We'll think about fixing it
Posted on 02-28-13 04:37 pm

I won't insult your intelligence by summarizing what the above image says.

Here's the deal. When the final version of 7.8 was "released," Heathcliff74, the guy behind WP7 Root Tools and a ton of other things in the WP7 homebrew community, noticed a severe data drain bug with live tiles in the update. 

Yesterday I got a text-message from my Mobile Operator. My mobile contract has a Fair Use Policy and the text-message stated that I had used 50% of the monthly limit. Well, that's weird. It's february 1st! On the first day I used half of my data-limit? So I opened the Nokia Counters app. It showed me that I already used more than 600 MB!! How is that possible?

You've probably heard the story by now, or even experienced it yourself. Essentially, a change or two in the WP7.8 start menu code has resulted in the Live Tile Scheduler not, well, scheduling correctly, and can result in the OS running a loop of fetch-attempt render-fetch-repeat. 

There are also some other bugs with the 7.8 update and the tiles, but let's focus on this one. The consequences of it are two fold. For one, the tiles don't work right, making the OS even less refined than it's previous version. Bad. But worse, the OS is pulling data without bound, which can cause tremendous operator bills, poor battery life, etc. 

And even worse, the bug can even be reproduced under some circumstances, making this is exploitable for anyone who feels like being a **** and racking up phone bills.

But hey. WP 7.8 is a thrown together port to try and not totally piss off early adopters of Nokia devices, before WP8 was announced. And for the most part, it's pretty solid. Some stability issues are understandable. 

But Microsoft's response, albeit far from an official statement on the matter, is downright disappointing.

The fixes will be considered for inclusion in an update to the phone operating system.

Considered? I don't know how Microsoft's triage process works, but I would consider something that makes your trademark feature of live tiles potentially unusable, has potential to cost your loyal fanbase extra $$, and is otherwise bad press, a bit of a priority. No?

Now, I'll be nice to Chamberlain, the poster of this response. His statement has received a lot of backlash, and he even replied to defend and clarify his position:

I posted it that way because I currently don't have further information. I will post updates when available.

Don't blame the messenger, I suppose.

But what does this mean for us, as users? Basically, it's exactly what we already know. Microsoft's priority is no where near WP7, and it hasn't been for a long time, if ever. Remember NoDo? Remember the disappearing keyboard bug?

How about the fact that WP7.8 was built and signed back in November, and was never even deployed to a full audience? Earlier bits of 7.8 were compiled back in April 2012. In fact, when you look at it, one can't help but wonder how, with the typical several-month-delay for what is generally blamed on "testing," nobody noticed that the big change in the OS, the freaking start screen, doesn't even work right?

What does this mean? It means the same thing it's always meant. WP7 was a smartphone beta test. Microsoft devotes resources here and there to help, and I have no doubt that they'll get this 7.8 issue sorted out. But the lack of quality control enforces the apathy of Microsoft towards this now obsolete product. They'll fix it, because of the complaints.

But really, they want you to upgrade. The team abandoned v7 and moved on. A year ago.

Thanks, Mark Chamberlain, for taking the fall for this one. Best wishes go to the individual members of the Windows Phone team and their hard work.

blog comments powered by Disqus
© 2013 Jonathan Warner